If you love a good espresso or coffee drink and you want to be able to just push a button and get a perfect espresso, macchiato, or cappuccino, then a fully-automated espresso machine is what you are looking for. Imagine going into the kitchen and clicking a button. The machine grinds the necessary amount of coffee beans to the correct coarseness, tamps the ground coffee, heats the water to the perfect temperature, brews the coffee, and disposes of the used coffee into a bin. Essentially, everything is done for you. There are numerous fully automatic espresso machines on the market, but not all machines are the same. Let’s take a look at the various available features and the models we recommend.
Fully Automatic Espresso Machine Features
Built-in grinders that control coarseness and volume will be included on fully automatic espresso machines. Some will vary in the type of parts used. Make sure you get a machine with a burr grinder. Spin grinders will burn the coffee which will change the taste.
Note that most machines will also have a by-pass feature where you can put your own coffee into the machine if you do not want the coffee that is currently in your bean container. For example, if someone wants a decaf, you can use the by-pass and not have to remove and change the beans in the hopper.
Ease of Programmability (size cup, type of drink, temperature)
What can be programmed and how easy it is to setup, is something that you should look at closely and be based on your personal preference. Some machines will have displays that are very straight-forward and easy to understand. Other machines will have more complicated displays for programmability but give more options. This is better suited to people who like to be able to control all aspects of brewing even though some settings will rarely ever change such as temperature.
Milk Frother and Steamer
Some machines will have the ability to froth and steam milk for you. Different machines will connect to a milk container differently. Some will have a container that you fill and attach to the espresso machine. Others may have a tube that goes into the milk container and pumps the milk into the machine. Take note of how it’s done and make sure you are comfortable with how it works. If it doesn’t do the milk for you, it will have a steam wand where you will steam and froth the milk yourself.
Note how many thermoblocks are on the machine. If it only has one, you will need to wait to heat the water for steaming after the espresso has been made. Otherwise, you will need to wait about a minute before you can steam you milk. For most people, the amount of time is insignificant. But, if you like to keep your espresso as hot as possible, consider the price difference between different machines.
Water Reservoir and Filter
Different machines have different reservoirs that will be placed in different locations and they will have different capacities. Make sure that you are comfortable with where it is located on your counter-top so that it isn’t too difficult to access. Also, some containers will use a water filter. If you do not have good clean water in your home, consider getting a machine with a filter since clean water will produce better tasting coffee.
Some machines will have cup warmers on top of the machine that will warm up the cup for you or if you want to keep the coffee warm while you steam the milk. Some machines will have a heating element directly on the cup warmer which others will simply use the heat generated from the machine.
Fully automated espresso machines vary in costs by a large margin. Some will be packed with features that you will not need. So, be sure to figure out what you’re paying for. We always recommend paying for quality. In the long run, it’s better to pay more for something that will last.
Fully automatic espresso machines come in all different sizes and shapes due to all of the different features. Before you look at buying one, figure out where you would put it and make sure the machine will fit properly.
More electronics means more parts may be prone to breaking. Therefore, note the materials used in making the parts and choose materials that will help your machine last longer.
Every so often your machine will need to be cleaned. Some have cleaning, decalcification or auto-rinse cycles. Some machines will also warn you when cleaning is needed. This is a good feature if you are not good at remembering.
Fully automatic espresso machines are more complicated and even though the coffee making process will be easier, some will require a little more maintenance and service through time.
Our Best Fully Automatic Espresso Machines
1. DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica
The DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica super-automatic espresso machine is not only our highest rated fully automatic espresso machine but it is also highly rated by numerous publications for being the best value. It is one of the few super-automatic machines with a double boiler for less than $1,000. With this machine, you’ll be able to make all kinds of different coffees at the touch of a button and it will be able to make it fast since the heating system keeps the water at an ideal temperature allowing you to quickly make multiple drinks. The unit comes with an LCD display and digital controls with a large number of programming options including temperature, volume, and coffee strength. The machine uses a patented "Cappuccino System" frother that will perfectly mix steam and milk. There is also a high quality burr grinder that is easy to adjust for coarseness. In short, this is a great reliable machine at a great price.
2. Saeco Philips Xelsis EVO
The Saeco Philips Xelsis EVO is one of the easiest to use fully automatic espresso machines available. It has a boiler that allows you to quickly make drinks along with a dual chamber milk carafe. The best part of this espresso machine is the programmability. The machine can be programmed with 6 different user profiles and up to 9 drinks for each profile that can be adjusted for temperature, amount of coffee, amount of milk and more. So, if you have multiple coffee drinkers in the house with different tastes, this machine makes it very easy to please everyone. The machine is also easy to clean. There is automatic cleaning and descaling plus a one click removable brewing group that allows you to easily clean the machine.
3. Jura Impressa C60
The Jura Impressa C60 is an impressive machine that uses a rotary dial and button to quickly select and brew your coffee drink. This makes it very simple to operate and a good choice if you like a machines that is simpler to program and still produce a great coffee. The machine uses a “Fine foam technology” that is excellent at creating a very light and airy milk foam for making great cappuccinos and other drinks with foam. The Jura Impressa C60 has a modern look, is compact, and is made of high-quality materials including a high-performance burr grinder.
4. Krups EA82 Espresseria
If you are looking for a compact and fully automatic espresso machine at a great price with a ton of features, the Krups EA82 Espresseria is an excellent choice. Krups designed this machine working very closely with baristas. The end result is a machine that enables anyone to create perfect espresso. It has a burr grinder and a patented compact thermoblock system that will help make consistently hot drinks. The LCD display is very intuitive and guides you through the drink making process. The Krups EA82 Espresseria also has a large removable water tank with filtration system.
5. Saeco Exprelia EVO
If you love coffee drinks with milk and are looking for an espresso maker that makes perfect foam or steamed milk, check out the Saeco Exprelia EVO. The machine uses a milk carafe using “Latte perfetto technology” that will create a café like rich and creamy foam. This machine also comes with a double boiler allowing you to quickly create multiple drinks. There is a bypass doser if you want to use different coffee for a single drink and you can make regular coffee as well. The machine has automatic cleaning and de-scaling and a one click removable brewing group for easy cleaning. The only downside is that it is expensive. But if you can afford it and are searching for an easy machine that can make a great latte or cappuccino, this machine is worth looking into.